Friday, March 1, 2013
The night was unusually cold for September but it was a welcome cold it hadn't gotten below 75 in over a week now. I had found a tree on the eastern side of the pasture. It was an old oak tree that had to be a hundred years old the trunk was so big around that it would take three of me hand in hand to get all the way around it. I was sitting on the ground with my back against the tree and my spelling book in my back pocket watching the cows most of which were starting to lay down for the night. I laid the rifle across my legs and reached into my back pocket and pulled out the book. I had read this book probably 20 times but had never really understood it because I really didn't even know how to read. I didn't understand some of the bigger words in it but I could spell every single word in that book.
When I heard a cow make a God awful noise I opened my eyes and realized I had fallen asleep. I jumped to my feet and ran towards the noise while trying to load the rifle.
“Damn why didn't I have the rifle already loaded.” I thought to myself.
The noise had stopped but I had locked onto where it came from and saw the cow about 30 yards ahead of me. There was a figure beside it but there was not enough moon light to tell what it was because it had clouded up. I started yelling and making noise of my own to scare whatever it was. But it never moved a muscle. When I was about 15 yards away I could see what looked like a man bent beside the cow with it's face in the cows neck. This startled me and I slipped on some cow shit and fell face first to the ground hitting my head on a rock. I rolled over and jumped straight back up with the rifle up to my shoulder point at the man who was now standing over the cow looking straight at me. He had a long trench coat that looked to be black or at least a dark color of some kind. I felt something hot and wet on my forehead I wiped it away thinking only it was sweat, but when I looked at my hand I saw that it was blood from the fall. It felt like hours but I'm sure it was only minutes I stood there a steady stream of blood now coming down my face and dripping from my chin.
“Who are you?” I screamed
The man said nothing and never moved, he just stood there staring at me.
“This is your last warning start explaining yourself or I will shoot!” I exclaimed.
Still nothing, no movement and not a sound came from him. This is also when I noticed the blood that was on the front of his chin.
“OK you give me no choice.” I said.
I pointed the rifle at his heart and put my finger on the trigger and started to squeeze. I heard the gun go off and when the smoked cleared I saw the man right in my face with the barrel of the rifle in one hand pointing it up into the sky. He pulled the rifle from my hands and threw it so far it didn't see or hear it hit the ground. I stumbled backwards slipping again and fell onto my back.
Looking up at him I cried “What are you? What do you want with me?”
The man then reached his hand out and offered it to me.
“Believe me if I meant you harm you would be dead by now.” the man said .
After a few minutes I reached up and took his hand. He pulled me to my feet with what looked like no effort at all. The blood from the cow that was on his chin was gone now and I could see his coat was indeed black.
“Who are you and what did you do to my cow?” I asked.
“Who I am ,I would say, is not as important as what I am.” he laughingly said “As far as what I did to your cow would you prefer I did it to you?”
I was shocked by what he said. What did he mean “what I am”?
“My name is Alexander and as for your cow well I was hungry so I fed” said the man.
“I do not understand you have only killed the cow you have taken no meat from it” I said as I pushed myself to my feet, “how could you say you have fed?”
“Haha” Alex laughed, “Oh how much of the world you do not understand boy. I bid you farewell here is some money for you livestock.” Alex reached into his pocket and threw some bills to the ground at my feet. Then he turned and started off towards the woods.
“Wait I demand to know why you have done this!” I yelled rushing towards him.
Suddenly before I could even blind he had me in his hand by my throat holding me above him.
“How dare you demand anything from me boy.! I could snap your neck like a twig before you knew I had you in my grip.” said Alex angrily.
Alex dropped me to the ground, I landed on my back and I was struggling to catch my breath.
As I regained my senses Alex was still standing over me with a strange and worrying look on his face. He looked as if he was listening to something but what it was I could not tell. Then he looked at me and said the words that changed my life forever.
“Do you really want to know what I am?” Alex asked with worry in his eyes.
“Yes I do” I said slowly in a trembling girlish voice.
“Very well but you will have to leave you family and life behind and never look back. We will leave immediately.” said Alex.
Before I could answer he had me in his arms and I could feel a sharp pain in my neck. I realized Alex's face was buried in my neck and I was feeling more and more tired I could not keep my eyes open. I tried pushing him off, but to no use I was growing weaker by the moment. Finally I knew my time in this world was over and I began praying for my soul then...........I felt nothing!
Part I September 1866
I can remember the day as if it had happened only yesterday. But let me go back a little further before it happened and tell you of my life. I was the son of a simple farmer living in the upstate of South Carolina. I had two siblings, a brother and a sister. My mother had died giving birth to me and my father always seemed to hold resentment towards me for this. My brother and sister seemed to love me but I always felt that they to were angry at me. So most of the time I kept to myself and always tried to do as I was told. In early September I rose from my bed before the sun was up, which was unusual for me. I almost always was up right as the sun broke over the horizon, because my window faced due east. Their was a break in the tree line that caused the light to hit me directly in the face each and every morning. But this morning was different I awoke and could hear father in the kitchen, but I couldn't tell what it was he was doing. I wiped the sleep from my eyes with my hand and started for the kitchen.
“Good morning father”, I started to say, “Vincent what have you done with the long rifle I don't know how many times I have told to to but things back where you got them from” my father shouted.
“ I have not touched the rifle since I went hunting with George last week” I exclaimed.
George was my one and only friend and sometimes we would go hunting or just use that as an excused so my father would let me out of chores for that day.
“ Here father, I had taken the rifle last night I thought I heard something out in the cattle field.” I turned to see Joseph standing behind me with the single shot rifle in his hand.
“ So were you able to kill the wild dogs?” my father asked with a worried look on his face.
“No father I heard the cows running around the field and when out to check on them but didn't see anything I figured they had just spooked themselves. I walked the fence line and never heard or saw anything.” Joesph said.
“Well you shouldn't have given up so fast because we have a dead cow in the field that had been taken down by the throat.” yelled father, “Take Vincent and drag it into the woods we can't have that rotting thing around the other cows.
“Yes sir” Joesph sighed.
I went to my room and put on some leather work pants and a plain white shirt and headed toward the barn with Joesph. I of course did most of the work saddling up the horse and finding the strongest rope while Joesph stood at the door shouting orders. Joseph rode the horse while I followed far behind with the heavy rope over my shoulder. Once in the field it was easy to find the 500lb cow laying motionless half way down a gentle slopping hill. While it was still early in the day and the sun just over the horizon it had to be 80 degrees already, “That's just how it is in the south” I could remember my grandfather saying. Joesph was already at the cow off of the horse and inspecting the dead cow's wounds.
“I must have scared the damned thing off last night it hasn't been touched except for the wound on its neck.” boasted Joesph.
I bent down to inspect for myself and he was right except for two small holes on it's neck it looked as healthy as could be. This didn't look like any dog bite I had every seen but again I am only 17 and haven't lived a long life. So I kept my thoughts to myself and began to tie the rope around the neck of the cow, then onto the harness that I had put on the horse.
“Hurry up I have places to go today!” Joseph shouted from the horse.
“If you would get you fat ass down here and help me we would be done by now.” I sighed under my breath.
“What was that? You need to speak up boy.” said Joesph.
“Sorry I said it's tied you can go now” I said.
Joesph kicked the horse and she started to pull. It was nothing for the horse to pull the dead cow the 200 yards outside of the fence and into the woods. When we got back to the barn Joesph jumped off the horse and walked back up to the house, leaving me to get the hours back into her stall. I was used to not having any help with my chores or help with anything really. As long as I can remember I have had to do everything on my own will little or no help from anyone. My sister Mary was not as harsh as my brother and father but she usually would only tend to my wounds or consul me when I was upset. Other than that she spent most of her time in town with her fiance, going to shows or other fancy things that I would probably never get to seen in my life.
I finished with the horse and felt a slight pain in my stomach and then and gurgling sound. I realized I had been up for almost 3 hours and not had a chance to eat anything, so I made my way back up to the house enjoying the cool breeze. Once I reached the top of the hill I could smell bacon and instantly quickened my pace. Inside Mary was doing some dished in the was tub father was reading the news paper where I could read on the front “Pack of Wild Dogs Terrorize Upstate”. Joesph was in his room or as least I assumed he was. I looked at the stove and saw one piece of bacon and a small chunk of ham in a skillet. I grabbed them up slapped them between 2 pieces of bread and ate it in record time.
I then went up to my room because on the paper I had seen the date said it was Sunday and not even father would make us work on Sunday. Up in my room I sat on my bed which was straw wrapped in a thin sheet of cotton it wasn't the softest bed I had sat on but I had gotten used to it in my 17 years and didn't even notice it anymore really. I bent over the side of the bed and fumbled around underneath and felt a small book. I grabbed it and laid back against the wall. This was a spelling book they gave children when they went to school. Father hadn't let me go to school because he said my life was on the farm and nothing they could teach me in school would help me milk or slaughter cows. But George had been allowed to go until his father, a shoemaker, had died from an infection. So when he quit I asked if I could have one of his book and he gladly handed it over. He was supposed to return the book but he didn't see the harm in giving it to someone who would actually enjoy it. I read the book sounding out the letters of the words for about an hour when I looked out my window and saw Mary and Joesph riding in the carriage on the road towards town.
My small bacon and ham sandwich had all but run out so I decided to make my down from my room up in the attic and to the kitchen for something to eat. At the bottom of the ladder I could see father sitting in front of the fire place with a bottle of brown liquid on the small table beside him. He was sharping his hunting knife that he carried with him everywhere, he told me a story one time after he had drank almost a whole bottle he had killed a man with his knife before. I wasn't sure If I believed him but I never let him know that. Trying to be quiet I slowly made my way into the kitchen and found a jar of beef jerky on the table. I opened it up and pulled 3 pieces from it then made my way back to my room.
“Hey boy” my father shouted out to me “Joe and Mary will be out all night at some ball or something I don't remember, but anyway I want you to watch the cattle tonight we can't afford to lose anymore. The rifle is by the door don't forget to take ammo.”
“Yes father I won't” I said.
Since I knew I would have to be up all night in that stinking field all night I took me a nap, but only slept a couple of hours. I spent the rest of the afternoon dozing and reading my book. Right as the sun was sinking below the horizon I strapped on my boots and headed down the ladder. Father was snoring loudly in front of the fire with his knife on the floor and the empty bottle in his hand. I picked up the rifle and went over to the cabinet were we kept the ammo pouch slung it over my shoulder and headed for the pasture.